Monday, June 26, 2006

 

12th Century Pottery Discovered

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The Korea Times
June 20, 2006



12th-century pottery that was found in the southwestern coast areas.


SEOUL - A massive collection of 12th-century Korean pottery has been excavated from the sea floor on South Korea’s southwest coast where a reclamation project is underway, archaeologists said Tuesday.
The archaeologists from National Maritime Museum in Mokpo, South Cholla Province, said they have found 780 bluishgreen bowls and plates from the Koryo Kingdom (916~1392) near the maritime town of Kunsan, North Cholla Province.

The discovery was made some 200 meters on the inland side of an embankment newly built to hold back the sea water as part of an ongoing reclamation project to transform the tidal mud flats into land suitable for rice cultivation or construction sites.

The ancient celadon pieces were found at a depth of 7 meters and are assumed to be part of the remains of a shipwreck, they said. There were also piles of as many as 40 bowls stacked together, they said.

The bluish green earthenware, called Koryo Chongja in Korean, seemed to be produced for local authorities and middle-class households, rather than aristocrats, as they were made from lower-grade clays and subject to a rougher firing process, they said. Some were inlaid with lotus flower patterns.

The museum started the excavation in late April after people were reported to have illegally taken the ceramics from the area last year.

Archaeologists are concerned that the reclamation area around Kunsan, called Saemangeum, may be a vast reserve of ancient relics, as celadon pieces from the 11th to 13th century have been uncovered there in the past few years.

“The area needs archaeological surveys. There are a lot more cases of relics that resident fishermen have found and reported,” Park Ye-ree, a researcher with the national museum, said.

Many kilns were established in coastal areas on the Korean Peninsula in the Koryo era as the finished products had better access to the sea for transportation.

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